散文系列之五怎样脱解尴尬 做一个健谈的人

Are you a good conversationalist? What makes someone a good conversationalist? Being a good conversationalist is important in every context, be it in business, social, or dating.


I don’t think there are any “tricks” or shady techniques you have to apply to be a great conversationalist. Below are ten timeless rules I apply to all my conversations:


1. Be genuinely interested in the person.


Who is this person? What’s on his/her mind? What does he/she enjoy doing? What motivates him/her in life? These are the questions I have for every single person I meet. Since people form the core of my life purpose (to help others grow), my genuine interest in people, from who they are to what they do, comes naturally.

这个人是谁?他/她在想什么?他/她喜欢做什么?什么激励着他/她的生活?我每遇见一个人,我都会想这样的问题。由于人们形成了我生活目标的核心(帮助他人成长), 我对他人的兴趣,从他们是谁到他们做什么,就很自然地产生了。

Such genuine interest, not an artificial one, is essential to making a conversation fly. If you are not interested in the other person, then why speak to him/her to begin with? Move on to someone you really want to talk to. Life is too short to be spent doing things you don’t like.

这样的兴趣是发自内心的,而不是虚假的, 这是让谈话出彩的必要条件。如果你对他人不敢兴趣,为什么要和他/她说话呢?去和你真正想谈话的人说话。生活苦短,不要把它浪费在你不喜欢的事情上。

2. Focus on the positives.


Which means rather than talk about past grievances, opt for a discussion of future goals. Rather than talk about the coffee that spilled on your table this morning, talk about that movie you are looking forward to watch later in the evening. It’s okay to talk about “negative” topics (read: topics that trigger negative emotions) once in a while, but only when you feel it is okay with the other party and when it has a specific purpose (e.g., to get to know the other person better or to bond with the person).

也就是说与其谈论过去的悲伤,不如去讨论未来的目标。与其谈论今天早晨洒在你桌子上的咖啡,不如谈论一下晚上你想看的电影。偶尔谈论一下“负面”话题(能产生负面情绪的话题)也是可以的, 但最好是当你觉得对方也能接受并且有特定目的时(比如,更好地了解对方或和对方建立联系)。

3. Converse, not debate (or argue).


A conversation should be a platform where opinions are aired, not a battle ground to pit one’s stance against another. Be ready to chat, discuss, and trash out ideas, but do so amiably. There’s no need to have a conclusion or agreement point in every discussion; if a convergence has to be met with everything that is mooted, the conversation would be very draining. Allow for things to be left open-ended if a common point can’t be achieved.


4. Respect.


don’t impose, criticize, or judge. Respect other people’s point of view. Respect other people’s space—don’t encroach on the person’s privacy unless a common bond has been established. Respect other people’s personal choices—don’t criticize or judge. Everyone has his/her right to be him/herself, just as you have the right to be yourself.

不要强加、批评或评判。尊重他人的观点,尊重他人的空间——不要侵犯他人的隐私除非建立了共同的联系;尊重他人的个人选择——不要批评或评判。每个人都有自己的权利成为他/她自己, 就像你有权利成为你自己一样。

5. Put the person in his/her best light.


Always look for ways to make the person look good. Give credit where credit is due. Recognize talent where you see it. Drop compliments where appropriate. Allow the person to shine in his/her own light.


6. Embrace differences while building on commonalities.


Everyone is different. At the same time, there are always commonalities across people. For the differences, embrace them. They make all of us unique. Agree to disagree if there are clashes in ideas.As you talk to the other person, look for commonalities between you and him/her.


Once you find a common link, build on it. Use that as a platform to spin off more discussions which will then reveal more about both of you. For the new commonalities that get unveiled, build on them further.


7. Be true to yourself.


Your best asset is your true personality. Don’t cover it up. It’ll be pretty boring if all you do is mime the other person’s words during a conversation; there wouldn’t be anything to discuss at all. Be ready to share your real thoughts and opinions (not in a combative manner of course—see #3). Be proud of what you stand for and be ready to let others know the real you.


8. 50-50 sharing.


I always think that a great conversation should be made up of equal sharing by both parties. Sometimes it may be 40-60 or 60-40 depending on the circumstances, but by and large, both parties should have equal opportunities to share and contribute to the conversation.What this means is that you should be sensitive enough to pose questions to the other party if you have been talking for a while.


It also means that you should take the initiative to share more about yourself if the other party has been sharing for the most part. Just because the person doesn’t ask doesn’t mean you can’t share; sometimes people don’t pose questions because it is not in their natural self to do so.


9. Ask purposeful questions.


Questions elicit answers. The kind of questions you ask will steer the direction of the conversation. To have a meaningful conversation with the other person, ask meaningful questions. Choose questions like, “What drives you in life?”, “What are your goals for the next year?” and “What inspired you to make this change?” over “What did you do yesterday?” and “What are you going to do later?”.


Some people may not be ready to take on conscious questions, and that’s fine. Start off with the simple, trivial, everyday questions as you build a rapport. Then, get to know the person better through deeper, more revealing questions—when you think the person is ready to share.


10. Give and take.


Sometimes people say pretty weird stuff during conversations. For example, a critical comment here and there, a distasteful remark, and a bad joke. Don’t judge them for those comments; treat these blurts as Freudian slips. Usually I just laugh or shrug it off; it makes for funny conversation banter.


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